Friday, 19 September 2014

The Computer Says NO!

Or rather, Scotland, quite emphatically, and by quite some margin, said NO to independence from United Kingdom (or rather, Great Britain, as it's in fact United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland - since you asked, I mean). On the face of it, the 55/45 split between NO and YES seems quite narrow, but considering the turnout was one for the books - and this time this tired phrase actually applies - the amazing 85% of registered voters (and that includes 97% of everyone in Scotland aged 16 or over), this is quite a resounding win for the unionists.

And that is, really, the only thing I have and want to say about the actual referendum, and the actual issue of Scottish independence.

Only I actually do want to sat a bit more. It's just not about Scots, Brits. or anyone else who last night laughed, cried, or just went to sleep knowing the country managed to keep its sanity.

What I want to point out is how there's a whole lot of people who know pretty much nothing about UK, Scotland or anything that really mattered at the polling stations yesterday but who still jumped on the bandwagon trying to sell their view of the whole saga to their own compatriots - and their (fr)enemies - mostly, if not exclusively, as a way of propping up hopes of various separatist movements and ideas.

Case in point number one: Catalonia (still in Spain). The prize quote is from just after the results have become clear. More or less, the separatists went: Scots might have failed, but we'll do better - just watch us. They might. Or they might not. It's just that there doesn't seem to be a much better case for similarity than: Scots wanted independence - and so do we.

Case in point number two: Serbian part of Bosnian Federation. Here, the argument seems to be solely: if Scots can be allowed to go for it so can we! The fact that United Kingdom is the country whose elected officials have the mandate to decide about things like Scottish referendum for independence, and that Bosnia is not - last time I looked - part of the United Kingdom seems to have little bearing on anything.

Frankly, after this I stopped listening, even if there's quite a bit of a hubbub on this topic pretty much wherever you place your ear against a globe. Really, guys and gals, the simple truth is: if you think you need independence from someone by all means go and ask for it. But do go ask where the decisions can be made (and I mean without starting yet another sorryy little war - pretty please?). And also be careful to present only valid arguments both to the powers that be and your supporters.

In fact, it may be of the utmost importance you do the latter. Looking at what just happened in Scotland - and this does have a bearing on any similar scenario - it seems it was the unrealistically rosy promises of the YES campaign that eventually wore off in the cold light of a polling booth in a drab Scottish backwaters village hall. Do your maths, do it correctly, and if it adds up - and it also needs to add up to the emotional side of the issue, one does not work without the other - only then, and then only maybe you shall succeed.

Otherwise you run one of two risks: lose a referendum and bury your cause for a generation or succeed and then wake up in 10-20 years time to an impoverished and ruined (new - but independent) nation. And if you think that won't happen to you I suggest you go round the following list of countries who shed blood to gain the independence they were told is sine qua non of their well-being and happines:

  • Slovenia
  • Croatia
  • Serbia
  • Bosnia
  • Montenegro
  • Macedonia
  • Kosovo
  • Paviljoni

Yes, the top one is an outlier, but would you bet your future on 1:7 odds?

Go ahead now, make my day...

Hint: It's the economy, stupid!